In the months, weeks, and days leading up to Haiti, I prayed (and had many others praying) for protection from malaria transmitting mosquitos and all other health concerns related to traveling to a 3rd world country.
I researched the threat of disease, the risks involved with medications and vaccines, weighed the pros and cons, and prayed for God’s guidance. God was asking me to trust Him completely. Steve and I prepared our immune systems in the weeks leading up to the trip.
I remembered a lesson I taught to a 4th grade Sunday school class about God having authority over nature and His creation so I began to pray that God command all biting insects away from us while in Haiti and that He close the mouths of all disease carrying insects that He allows to come near us. I prayed for invisible mosquito nets to cover us every step of our trip. And we had many people praying for my fear bordering the edge of ridiculous.
The real question became Is God Enough? Is He enough to cover me? Is He enough if He allows me to get sick? Do I really believe that God is all I need? I say He is, but when I’m bumped up against a fear, He quickly becomes not enough.
As we prepared for the trip, I began to stockpile bug spray. All varieties. I’d place an order on Amazon and slip in another bottle or two of insect repellant. Just for good measure. I was careful to order only sizes that would pass security, some 1 oz bottles, some 3 oz bottles. Along with all our other liquids. I packed and divided up some in my suitcase then slipped some into Steve’s suitcase.
We were prayed up and prepared up. As we stood in the security line at the airport, I felt as ready as I imagined I could feel. I’d prayed for months and couldn’t have done one more ounce of preparation or planning for disease protection. Twinges of guilt reminded me that I spent more time praying about my fear of disease and bugs than I spent praying for the hearts and souls I travelled to see.
Steve and I placed our bags on the conveyor belt. I stepped into the body scanner, holding hands high above my head. Walked through allowing them to wave the wand all over my body. I grabbed the bucket containing my shoes and purse when the conveyor belt stopped.
The TSA agents began pointing to the screen, pulling items from our belongings, consulting with each other. One held up a gallon size Ziploc bag containing about 10 containers of bug spray. “Is this for one person?”
Steve looked at me with that look that said, “What in the world have you done?”
He responded back, “We are traveling together. To Haiti. It’s for both of us.”
Well, yes, it was for both of us, but there was more they hadn’t seen yet. They grabbed only the first bag of spray, but I’d slipped into Steve’s bag another Ziploc containing our ‘just in case’ supply.
We stopped the security line as 3 agents began to deal with us. They were digging in all of our stuff. It wasn’t just bug spray. I had essential oils for every possible ailment. I had peroxide, magnesium oil, colloidal silver, creams. You name it, we had it.
The agent turned to me with 2 itty-bitty, teensie weensie quart sized baggies. “You can each only take liquids to fill one bag each. I looked at the bucket of liquids staring back at me.
“But we are going to Haiti!!!”
I honestly believe the security agent felt sorry for me in that minute.
“But this is a ton of money in these bags. Will you throw it all away? Can you at least use it or give it away?”
“No, ma’am. We are required to throw it away.”
I felt my stomach turning over. The thought of all that money going into the trash can followed by the realization that I would now enter Haiti much less prepared than I planned or desired.
That pestering thought whispered again. “Is God enough? Really enough? Is He enough to cover you? Is He enough to hold you if He allows disease? Is He enough?”
With the pressure of the growing line behind us and our waiting travel partners ahead of us, we began the task of deciding what made the trip and what made the trash. About 10 containers of bug spray made the trash, but I managed to take about 3-4 small containers with us.
God, You are my God; I eagerly seek You.
I thirst for You;
my body faints for You
in a land that is dry, desolate, and without water.
2 So I gaze on You in the sanctuary
to see Your strength and Your glory.
3 My lips will glorify You
because Your faithful love is better than life.
4 So I will praise You as long as I live;
at Your name, I will lift up my hands.
5 You satisfy me as with rich food;[a]
my mouth will praise You with joyful lips.
6 When I think of You as I lie on my bed,
I meditate on You during the night watches
7 because You are my helper;
I will rejoice in the shadow of Your wings.
8 I follow close to You;
Your right hand holds on to me.
Now began the days of walking in faith that He would be enough.
The only way to believe God is enough is to know Him. Not to know about Him or to serve Him, but to know Him. So I read the Psalms. Reminding myself who He is.
I fought back against my fears, which spoke to make me believe the lie that He would not be enough.
Our travel team received a good laugh at my ridiculous preparations and disposal. When I realized each of them brought one tiny bottle of spray, if any, I felt even sillier that I thought I needed 15 bottles of spray. But that is what fear does best.
One of the very first things I learned in Haiti is we need a lot less than we think we need. In Haiti the things I think I “need” didn’t exist. Or they were left at home. Or God took them.
The rawness of life exposed. What is truly necessity? And what is a crutch. What is a pleasure? And what are the things that allow me to rest my fears on them rather than removing everything so all I see is God. In Haiti so much is removed that seeing God is not difficult at all. Seeing God is seeing that He is enough.
I shared this on my Facebook page on April 19th (exactly one month from our departure date):
If we had any idea of God’s deep affection for us, we would go through life fearless. If we really trusted Him, nothing would cause us to pause in the dark before moving forward.
We are going to Haiti on a mission trip in 4 weeks. To be quite honest, I’m scared. Scared of many things, and I have an army of people praying right now.
Here’s what God showed me this week. He knows every tiny speck of fear that has found a home in our hearts, even the ones we’ve denied and not brought before His throne.
Two weeks ago I walked outside and the biggest mosquito I’ve ever seen in my life darted at my face. I screamed. At a mosquito. It was the size of a small bird. Or was it my fear distorting my view? I don’t have a mosquito fear in America. But in Haiti? Yes, yes I do fear the mosquitoes there. In God’s sweet kindness, He has sent the biggest mosquitoes of my life to me in droves over the last two weeks. I’ve never seen anything like them.
In God’s kindness, He is forcing me to face my fear here and now so I see how small an issue it actually is when placed in the light of a great big God that commands the mosquitoes to shut their mouths. Or command the mosquitoes to go here and there. He is in charge. Not my fear.
This morning I stood at the sink when a prehistoric mosquito made a dive at me. It bypassed the children and made its way straight at me. Instead of shrieking, I grabbed a towel, swatted it down, and threw it in the trash.
I tossed my head back in laughter as my children looked on wondering who this strange woman was in disguise as their mother.
“Boys, God is just so good. He knows I’ve been praying He would close the mouths of the mosquitoes in Haiti and He knows I’m scared of being eaten alive by them (so silly I know but if you saw how mosquitoes attack me, you would understand). And in God’s great love and kindness, He is sending me the biggest, scariest, most monstrous mosquitoes now so I can see that my fear is unwarranted and I won’t be shocked and scared in Haiti.”
They went back to pancakes, and I went to God in praise.
Last night at dinner, Andrew asked if he could pray. After blessing the food he said this, “God, I pray for Haiti and all the people there. And God, I pray that you would help mom to not be shocked by all she is going to see when she is there.”
Ya’ll. That is God! I’ve never said those words. I’ve never considered praying about that. God placed in that little boy’s heart the very thing God knows is going to turn us upside down. What we will see is going to be shocking and jolting in ways we’ve yet to consider.
God is concerned with the most microscopic concerns of our life and this entire world. If we believed that in the bottom of our souls, we would walk in confidence and purpose for His glory.
God has been teaching me so much in the past few weeks. He’s been drawing me into Him in new ways. Showing new things. Giving new understanding and insight. In the in-betweens, there are giant mosquitoes that must be taken down.
Today, remember He loves you in a way you could never begin to fathom. The depth of His affection you could never see. Take your fears to Him. He already knows them. He is ready to go to war on your behalf. Casting down the mosquitoes that arrive in droves.
God is enough. He is enough in America. He is enough in Haiti. He is enough in all things good and bad. Haiti taught me that too much very often is the thing that covers the fact that He is all we need.
I can’t wait to share more stories from our trip here with you. I have one in particular that still leaves me speechless. So the next few posts, I’ll be sharing stories of our time in Haiti and what God showed us. Thank you for praying!
Oh! And btw, I didn’t receive a single mosquito bite in Haiti. In fact, I maybe saw five mosquitoes the entire time we were there. And they were just outside that invisible net God provided.